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Soil’s Hidden Power: The Stable Soil Organic Carbon Pool Controls the Burden of Persistent Organic Pollutants in Background Soils

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  • Lu Jiang
  • Jitao Lv
  • Kevin C. Jones
  • Shiyang Yu
  • Yawei Wang
  • Yan Gao
  • Jing Wu
  • Lun Luo
  • Jianbo Shi
  • Yingming Li
  • Ruiqiang Yang
  • Jianjie Fu
  • Duo Bu
  • Qinghua Zhang
  • Guibin Jiang
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>14/05/2024
<mark>Journal</mark>Environmental Science and Technology
Issue number19
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)8490-8500
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date2/05/24
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) tend to accumulate in cold regions by cold condensation and global distillation. Soil organic matter is the main storage compartment for POPs in terrestrial ecosystems due to deposition and repeated air–surface exchange processes. Here, physicochemical properties and environmental factors were investigated for their role in influencing POPs accumulation in soils of the Tibetan Plateau and Antarctic and Arctic regions. The results showed that the soil burden of most POPs was closely coupled to stable mineral-associated organic carbon (MAOC). Combining the proportion of MAOC and physicochemical properties can explain much of the soil distribution characteristics of the POPs. The background levels of POPs were estimated in conjunction with the global soil database. It led to the proposition that the stable soil carbon pools are key controlling factors affecting the ultimate global distribution of POPs, so that the dynamic cycling of soil carbon acts to counteract the cold-trapping effects. In the future, soil carbon pool composition should be fully considered in a multimedia environmental model of POPs, and the risk of secondary release of POPs in soils under conditions such as climate change can be further assessed with soil organic carbon models.